All writing is a form of prayer - John Keats

Friday, December 24, 2021

HFP Holiday Series, #4, Remembering “the little guy” on Christmas Day

Comedian Flip Wilson used to have a line, when caught doing something wrong: “The devil made me do it!" 

I have the flip side of that, as I reflect on 85 years of living. “Jesus of Nazareth, born on this day some 2,000 years ago, led me to do it!” I’m talking about sticking up for the “little guy.” 

My mind is wandering back to Christmas morning, 1953. And I’ll get to that in a minute. 

But first, some examples of how I imperfectly did my best to help the “little guy." 

As a young News Director in a conservative community, I did my best to give fair coverage to unpopular groups and organizations, such as labor unions and certain political parties. 

Years later, when I founded a male chorus called HIS MEN, I avoided concert halls and steered the group into jails and prisons, nursing homes and orphanages. 

Years later, I met a Black man who claimed wrongful conviction, and spent the next decade proving to the world that he was right. 

OK, now let’s go back to Christmas morning, 1953. 

I was a high school junior, an experienced pianist and budding organist. I played 3 gigs on that Christmas morning, and the thing that makes me the proudest is that two of the three were for the “little guy.” 

I got up early in the morning, took our family’s 1951 Plymouth to the Mona Lake Mission, a tiny church-sponsored project along the shores of Mona Lake for the poorest of the poor. I provided their Christmas music on a beat-up old piano in a rented room. 

From there I drove to downtown Muskegon, and played the pipe organ for a traditional Christmas service of First Christian Reformed Church.  

Then, for the final service of that morning, I drove to our little church, Grace Christian Reformed, a church plant east of Muskegon, in another exceptionally low-income community. I was the sole musician for that Christmas service. 

I don’t know who got me started on this “little guy” kick. Perhaps it was my mom and dad, who taught me by example. Perhaps it was Bible teachers and preachers. 

But I know this. 

In his short time on earth, Jesus made no secret of the fact that the “little guy” was pretty darn important. 

I also know that I’m far too selfish to think about less fortunate on my own. 

And that’s why the Founder of HUMANITIY FOR PRISONERS, an organization focused on the “little guy” gives all credit on this Christmas, 2021, to that baby Born in Bethlehem.

May your day be blessed!



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